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Soccer News of Friday, 19 August 2022


Europa League: Two Nigerian stars on target, Chukwueze brilliant for Villarreal

Samuel Chukwueze Samuel Chukwueze

The Europa League and Conference League preliminaries are slowly grinding to a halt, with the first leg of the final round of fixtures played on Thursday.

Nigerian players were involved, and whilst some helped their teams to secure good results, others would have to wait till next week to salvage something.

In Sweden, Leke James scored for Sivasspor, but his strike was not enough, as his side fell to a 3-1 defeat at Malmo in the first leg of their Europa League qualifiers.

Leke equalized for his side in the 30th minute of their fixture after Moustafa Zeidan put Malmo ahead in the 18th minute.

However, Leke’s goal was soon cancelled, as Anders Christiansen scored for the Swedish champions in the 37th minute to make it 2-1.

Niklas Moisander put the final nail in Sivasspor’s coffin, as he scored in the 68th minute to ensure that Malmo took a 3-1 advantage from the first leg.

Meanwhile, in Skopje, it was an evening of missed feelings for Sunday Adetunji. The Nigerian striker opened the scoring for his side in the 19th minute, but it was insufficient, as they lost at home to FC Ballkani.

Adetunji broke the deadlock, but Albion Rrahmani drew level for the visitors just four minutes later. Merit on Korenica then broke Shkupi hearts with a 67th-minute strike that ensured that the Kosovans picked a vital 2-1 away win.

In Spain, it was a great outing for Samuel Chukwueze and his Villarreal side, as they beat Croatian side Hajduk Split 4-2 in the first leg of their Europa Conference League tie.

Stipe Biuk opened the scoring for Hajduk Split after just two minutes. But the sleeping Yellow Submarine soon woke up.

Jose Luis Morales got the equalizer in the 15th minute. Then Marko Livaja put the ball in his own net to give Villarreal a 2-1 lead after 19 minutes.

Chukwueze could have scored in the 34th minute, but his header was off target. Nonetheless, he made up for his miss two minutes later, supplying a beautiful assist for Morales, who scored his second of the night.

Gerard Moreno then added his goal to give Villarreal a 4-1 lead going into the break. Marco Fossati pulled one back for the visitors, but it was insufficient as the Yellow Submarine cruised to a 4-2 win.

All second-leg fixtures will be played next week.